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Mayo Clinic doctors speak about signs and symptoms of hepatitis as more cases are found in kids

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(WQOW) - A sudden increase in the number of children experiencing severe hepatitis has caught the attention of both national and international health experts, including the CDC and World Health Organization.

Mayo Clinic doctors spoke about the warning signs for the disease, and how common it is among kids.

Most of these hepatitis cases are being discovered among kids under 5. Sarah Hassan with the Mayo Clinic Children's Center said when looking for signs of hepatitis in your young kids, you should pay close attention to any yellowing of the skin and the eyes.

Also important to watch for is the color of urine and stool. Dark, tea-colored urine can be a sign of hepatitis, and discolored stool can be as well. Fatigue and loss of appetite are also symptoms closely associated with the liver disease.

Typical gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can develop into those symptoms.

About 300 cases of this sort of hepatitis have been confirmed globally, with just a small cluster in the U.S. So as of right now it is very rare, but there could be more cases.

"Part of the reason the World Health Organization and the CDC sent out the alerts, though, was to try and identify if there are more cases," said Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious disease expert with Mayo Clinic. "So it's very possible that more cases will start to be identified going forward."

It's not believed that the hepatitis cases are related to COVID-19 infection or vaccination, but it is impossible to rule anything out right now.

The particular type of hepatitis that children are contracting does not have a preventative vaccine.

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